An article in Whole Dog Journal first sparked Erin’s interest in clicker training. “At that time, I had no idea there was a different way to train than what I was told in classes I took,” she recalls. What she was being taught, “just didn’t feel right to me,” Erin says. When she tried clicker training with her dog, she discovered that her dog learned amazingly fast and that together they had so much fun. Erin found Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) doing some online searching about her new passion, clicker training, but did not think about enrolling just yet.
Erin attended local kennel club agility classes that used clicker training and, after several years as a student, began to teach the program’s foundation and beginner level agility classes. A return visit to the KPA website led Erin to sign up for and attend her first ClickerExpo conference in 2015. (She has gone back in 2017, 2018, and 2019!) “After my first ClickerExpo, I dreamed about obtaining the KPA certification, but I have a fulltime job in IT Leadership at a healthcare organization and couldn’t justify the expense,” Erin explains. “It was after ClickerExpo 2017 and two and a half years of group class training, that I made the decision to go for it. "
The “amazing” Laura Monaco Torelli was Erin’s instructor for the KPA Dog Trainer Professional (DTP) program. Erin completed the program in Madison, Wisconsin, graduating in early 2018. “Completing the Dog Trainer professional program has been one of my greatest achievements.” The hands-on workshops Erin attended with Laura and her classmates were opportunities to build her skills and confidence “as a trainer and a teacher.” As Erin “wanted to earn the KPA certification so badly,” she remembers being more nervous for her DTP program assessments than she had been for college exams.